Ex-teacher to be re-sentenced

The Montana Supreme Court overturned the sentence of Stacey Dean Rambold. District Judge G. Todd Baugh sentenced Rambold to a whopping one month in jail following Rambold’s conviction of raping a 14-year-old girl. The sentence drew national outrage and prompted calls for Baugh’s removal. The case also went back to court in an effort to undo the light sentence. The result:

Justices in a unanimous ruling ordered the case of Stacey Dean Rambold assigned to a new judge for re-sentencing.

The decision means Rambold must serve a minimum of two years in prison under state sentencing laws, Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito said.

However, there is a slight problem: Rambold already completed the previous one-month sentence. While I am sure this has happened before, I do not know of any case offhand in which a person who served their sentence was re-sentenced. I do not understand how this can be constitutional. I would think it would violate double jeopardy since Rambold has been tried, convicted, sentenced, and served the time. They are not retrying the trial, only tossing out the sentence after he served it.

Rambold’s attorney may argue a similar point. I doubt the court will care. There is enough heat on this case that Rambold may end up serving a much longer sentence than the 10 years prosecutors initially sought.

4 thoughts on “Ex-teacher to be re-sentenced

  1. I’ve read enough about this case that I don’t think this guy was the reason the girl committed suicide.
    Of course I could be wrong. So maybe he deserved a longer original sentence. And he did violate his probation.
    But…how did he violate his probation? By being with an ADULT woman. And that probation violation (the details of which are usually excluded and left to the imagination by the headline seeking press) was where all this started.
    This is justice by mob, and hence not justice at all.
    And this is sadly becoming all too common in criminal cases, esp. cases involving sex or other currently politically/culturally unfavorable crimes.

  2. Clarence, I think the violation may have been that he failed to report being with the woman. A similar situation happened with Debrah LaFave.

    If the court had thrown out the sentence the first time and then re-sentenced Rambold I would have no questions. However, I do not see how it is legal to have him serve a sentence, regardless of its length, and then vacate it after he served it so the court can impose a longer one. I think Rambold should have gotten a longer sentence, yet this seems unconstitutional.

  3. My guess is that the appellate court would have considered double jeopardy issues before issuing its decision since it could easily be overturned on further appeal. I’m just guessing here, but I would think that if the sentence should have been greater and in fact a greater sentence is imposed, then Rambold will simply be credited for time served. That way he will not have to serve that time twice. I’m no lawyer, but there is probably legal precedent for this decision.

  4. If the first decision is overturned by the appellate court, it is not double jeopardy because in theory the first decision has never existed (so nothing is “double”). “Double jeopardy” isn’t really something that comes up often… except on TV, that is.

    In practice… there may be principles of equity that allow letting him off despite the sentence having been too short. Not too familiar with American criminal law, though.

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